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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide
Hands-on activities

Hands-on activities can enrich a trip by creating fond memories and instilling knowledge about the local culture through interactivity. In Japan, a wide range of activities are offered to tourists at single workshops, many open air museums, as well as craft villages across Japan. Craft villages are one-stop destinations where numerous different types of workshops are being conducted. Note that many of the lessons may only be conducted in Japanese, and prior reservations may be required.

Listed below are some popular hands-on activities available in Japan:

Food Related

Fruit picking (more details)
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 800 to 3000 yen
Many farms across Japan offer fruit picking opportunities to tourists. The common procedure is for the visitor to get charged for a certain time period during which he/she can pick and enjoy the fruits on the spot. Typical fruit available for this activity include strawberries, apples and grapes.

Soba noodle making
Typical duration: 2 to 4 hours
Typical price range: 1500 to 4000 yen
Soba noodles are buckwheat noodles and can be commonly found around Japan. Soba making is one of the most common activities found at craft villages throughout Japan. It involves making the dough and cutting it into noodles.

Cheese/butter making
Typical duration: 40 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 600 to 1000 yen
Cheese and dairy products are commonly made in northern Japan, especially in Hokkaido. Some farms offer cheese and butter making workshops. Visitors usually learn how to make the product and consume it on the spot. The Furano Cheese Factory is one place that offers such workshops.

Food replica making
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: about 1000 yen
Gujo in Gifu Prefecture is a leading center of food replica production. Visitors can try to create their own samples at several workshops there. In Tokyo, food sample workshops are available along Kappabashi Street.

Crafts

Pottery
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 1500 to 2500 yen
Pottery workshops can be found at many places in Japan, especially in the towns and regions that are famous for their local type of pottery, such as Arita or Kaga.

Glass making
Typical duration: 15 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 1500 to 3500 yen
It is possible to try glass making at many places across Japan including Otaru, Hakone and Karuizawa. Some workshops involve glass blowing and glass forming, while others involve glass etching.

Weaving
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 500 to 2500 yen
Weaving workshops are offered at many locations in Japan, such as the Hida Folk Village in Takayama and Ryukyu Mura in Okinawa. After the class, participants would be allowed to take home the end product as a souvenir, which is usually something simple like a coaster.

Indigo dyeing
Typical duration: 2 to 3 hours
Typical price range: 600 to 3000 yen
This activity is frequently offered at craft villages across Japan. Beginners usually start by learning how to dye a plain handkerchief, followed by trying out more difficult tasks like dyeing scarves.

Washi paper
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 500 to 1000 yen
In many workshops, for example at one near Ainokura Village, tourists can experience how washi paper is made. At other establishments, such as the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts and Takumi no Sato, it is possible to make crafts such as fans and lanterns using washi paper.

Daruma doll making
Typical duration: One to two hours
Typical price range: 500 to 1000 yen
Daruma dolls are made of paper mache and vary in design across the regions of Japan. Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture is famous for daruma dolls, and there are several workshops offering the opportunity to paint your original doll.

Kokeshi dolls
Typical duration: 30 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 500 to 1000 yen
Kokeshi dolls are popular in the Tohoku and northern Kanto regions. At many places, it is possible to paint your very own kokeshi doll for a small fee.

Music box making
Typical duration: 45 to 60 minutes
Typical price range: 2000 to 6000 yen
Music box making can be tried at some places in Japan, such as the Music Forest Museum at Kawaguchiko and the Orugoru-do in Otaru. The process involves choosing a base piece, a mechanism which plays your favorite tune, and your own set of accessories, before participants assemble their own unique music boxes.

Tatami making
Typical duration: About two hours
Typical price range: 500 to 1000 yen
Tatami mats are made of straw and measure roughly 180 cm x 90 cm. These mats are widely used to cover the floor of Japanese-styled rooms. Few establishments offer workshops whereby you can make a small piece of Tatami and take it home as a souvenir.

Click on the pictures on the map to look at interesting places to participate in some hands-on activities:

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